Mail-Order Brides with Lena Nelson Dooley


As the West was settled, there often were small towns where the residents were mostly, or completely, men. Rough and tumble places where the refinements brought by women were not to be found. In the areas where decent women were few, these women stayed hidden from the general population.

This situation made Mail-Order brides a booming business. A lot of the men sent advertisements to newspapers in the East, trying to find a woman who was willing, for whatever reason, to go West. He would provide a ticket to bring her close to where he lived.

Sometimes, the man lived quite a ways from the town and wanted to marry right away. Other men were willing to help provide a place for the woman to stay while they got to know each other.

You know the women had to be in some kind of dire situation to pull up stakes from where they were and travel a long distance to marry a man she never met. I’ve heard of situations where a woman was left destitute by the death of a spouse. Others were adult brothers and sisters, where the brother gets married and the wife makes the sister’s live miserable in a number of ways.

In some areas, there were marriage brokers, who helped these couples get together. A scary situation to travel far across the country to marry men they’d never bet. Who knew if the letters told the truth? These in-between brokers could research the suitability of the man on the other end of the letters. Many of these marriages were successful, and others were not.

The advent of the railroads as they moved from coast to coast made these connections even easier. Mail traveled faster, so the letters didn’t take so long to get to the destinations, and the brides could reach their destinations with a much more comfortable and quicker means of transportation.

I like reading Mail-Order-Brides stories, and I like to think up reasons for the characters to have problems connecting.


My first mail-order-bride story has gone out of print, and I’ve released a second edition. It’s a full length novel. The Gold Digger released in April, May, and July. The ebook in April, the print book in May, and the audio book in July. I call this story my heroine-in-peril, mail-order-bride, gone awry story. The heroine is in Boston, and the hero is in Golden, New Mexico.




My next mail-order-bride story will release before the end of October. Rescuing Christmas has a totally different story line. It deals with a harsh reality that sometimes happened with these mail-order-brides. Rescuing Christmas will then become the last novella in the Christian Mail-Order Angels collections. These novellas have three editions at this time. Volume 1 contains the first 6 stories. Volume 2 contains the next 5, and my book’s addition to this collection will make it 6. And there’s edition with all 11, and my book will make it 12.

(To view either of these books on Amazon,click on the book cover images)

Do you like mail-order-brides stories?  If so, what have been your favorites?

I love to chat with my readers and fans.  And to show you just how much,  I’ll be giving away a copy of the ebook  Rescuing Christmas to not one but TWO of you wonderful folks who leave a comment on this post.


+ posts

25 thoughts on “Mail-Order Brides with Lena Nelson Dooley”

  1. Thank you for the post. I do like mail order bride stories. I cannot say which one was a favorite. However, I do like happy endings.
    Looking forward to reading your books. Thank you for opportunity to win one.

  2. I haven’t had the chance to read any mail order bride books. But I have to say those women must have been very brave to go to a strange place with intentions of marrying a stranger.

  3. I do like reading the mail order bride stories. I recently read a good one where the heroine met the man she was supposed to marry, he was horrible, another guy in town quickly saved her. It was well done!

  4. Welcome! I really love the mail-order bride theme too, along with shot-gun weddings and marriages of convenience; I read them all whenever I can find them. I think I like them so much because you get to watch the characters–two total strangers–working toward knowing one another, finding surprises they didn’t expect about the other, and their finally coming together.

    My all-time favorite of those three similar themes is “Silver Lining” by Maggie Osborne. (Oh, how I wish she hadn’t retired from writing.) Other favorites include “His Secondhand Wife” by Cheryl St John, “Heaven Sent” by Pamela Morsi, “Never Marry a Lawman” by Jo Goodman, “The Endearment” by LaVyrle Spencer, “The Texan’s Wager” by Jody Thomas, “Short Straw Bride” by Dallas Schulze, “Prince Charming” by Julie Garwood, “The Wrong Cowboy” by Lauri Robinson, “The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family” by Sherri Shackelford, “Summer Moon” by Jill Marie Landis, “Heartbreak Creek” by Kaki Warner, “Harper’s Bride” by Alexis Harrington, and of course “Texas Mail Order Bride” by Linda Broday and “Short-Straw Bride” by Karen Witemeyer.

    Unfortunately I can’t be entered into this giveaway since it’s for an ebook, but I do wish everyone good luck in the drawing!

  5. Hi Lena–I adore mail order bride stories! I feel for the women who had to become mail order brides. It must have been very nerve-racking, which is why I love reading mail order bride happily-ever-afters.

  6. Mail order brides are a favorite of mine. I like those where children are involved. It throws in another dimension for them to deal with and direction for the story to go in.
    I actually come from a long line of mail order brides. In the 1600’s, the french king decided the french colony in what is now Canada needed to be more settled and populated. He sent boatloads of young women over. The first were from good families in Paris. Can you imagine the shock of going from Paris society to to a dirt floor cabin in the woods surrounded by indians? After the first few shipments, they switched to bringing over women from the countryside, many from farms. Evidently we have great+ grandmothers on both sides of the family from some of the ear lies groups as well as some from later groups.

      • I have not heard of the casket brides. These were called the filles du roi or filles du roy which translates to Kings Daughters. They came to New France between 1663 and 1673 in a program sponsored by Louis XIV. There were about 800 of them. A trousseau and passage to Canada was provided as well as a dowry which was usually in kind. Most were quite poor, but all had to pass strict moral standards and physical suitability for a settlers life. Actually, checking, most were from urban areas and not farmers’ daughters. The ships landed foist in Quebec City and last in M<ontreal.

      • A good article on the casquette girls here:

        They came over about 60 years later, the 1720’s, than the filles du roi and went to New Orleans rather than Quebec. The french in Canada, the Acadians, were rounded up and shipped off by the British during the French and Indian War. They were settled in Brisitsh colonies and sent to France. Many migrated to New Orleans and vicinity. They were the ancestors of the Cajuns.

  7. I enjoy mail order bride stories or any story where the people involved just have to adjust to the situation and make the best of it. Being a romantic I always hope it works out, and I like to see them stick with it rather than just head off to divorce court as is so easy today.

  8. Hi Lena! Welcome back to P&P. We’re so happy to have you. I love mail order bride stories for one simple reason…they always have a woman in peril with nowhere left to turn. That just piques my interest. I’m about to start a whole mail order bride series and I just know I’ll find some juicy secrets.

    Congratulations on the Christmas release! That looks great.

  9. I’m so glad to be back with P&P. I’m sorry to be so late for the comments. I didn’t see the post when I tried Friday. I just sent out a message about the post to all my social media sites.

    Readers, go to Amazon and check out RESCUING CHRISTMAS. You know you can read a sample of the book there. One of you said your couldn’t use a Kindle ebook. If you have a smart phone (any kind), a computer, or tablet, you can download a Kindle for (type of electronic devise) free. Then you can read Kindle books. I keep my tablet in my purse so I can read when we’re away from home and/or waiting in a clinic or doctor’s office.

    Actually, this book is so different from any mail-order bride story I’ve written. Read the sample and see if you might like reading it. And it’s only $0.99.

    • I do know that I can read a book on my computer, etc. But, I choose not to do that, that is, stare at various kinds of screens on a regular basis–it’s a lifestyle choice–and I carry a paperback book in my purse when I’m away. I tried to nicely reply to your post while at the same time not being entered in the giveaway. In future, I won’t reply to anyone’s post that features an ebook giveaway just to keep it simple. Sorry for any confusion.

      • Eliza, I’m sorry if I offended. It was totally unintended. Your lifestyle choice is perfectly fine with me. I know a lot of people aren’t aware of the other ways to read Kindle ebooks. Please don’t stop commenting on posts where the books are ebooks. All we authors want to hear from readers, whether fans of our books, or not.

  10. Actually, I’m going to be writing a proposal for another mail-order bride story this week. I’m mulling it over right now. I like to have a twist that makes my book different from any others. RESCUING CHRISTMAS started with a terrible twist.

    This next one will, too. I’m just trying to iron out the storyline.

    Since I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, I don’t plot out every scene. I just have a timeline and some events in mind when I start writing. That makes it hard to write a proposal, but I’ll get right on it.

  11. I love reading mail order brides stories. The humor and sometimes conflict makes them so fun. I don’t have a favorite as I generally like them all. although there was one about a time travel woman who replaced a mail order bride in the old west that was amazing.

  12. Mail order bride stories & Amish stories are my favorites! I love to read & would enjoy Rescuing Christmas very much! I don’t care for e-books – like the old fashioned kine you can hold in your hand & place a pretty bookmark in! God bless you!

Comments are closed.